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Vial of hemorrhagic fever virus goes missing from Texas lab

Vial of deadly virus goes missing from Texas lab | KMOV.com St. Louis
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- Officials say a vial containing a virus that can cause hemorrhagic fever has gone missing from a research facility in Galveston, but say there's no reason to believe there's a threat to the public. The University of Texas Medical Branch said Saturday that there was no breach in the security its Galveston National Laboratory and no indication of wrongdoing. Officials suspect the missing vial containing the Guanarito virus was destroyed during the lab's cleaning process but the investigation continues. The medical branch says the virus, native to Venezuela, is transmitted only through contact with Venezuelan rats. It is not believed to be able to survive in U.S. rodents or to be transmitted person-to-person.

March 23, 2013

Charlie Stross: We live in an age of permanent revolution

The permanent revolution - Charlie's Diary
The doctrine of continual change through technology is not value-neutral; it feeds into the continual disruption that enables the permanent revolution of the anti-monarchists to roll forward, and prevents the oligarchs who sit astride the juggernaut from becoming too comfortable. It is in principle possible to suppress change; the problem is that suppression is a sub-optimal strategy in a polycentric world with competing interests. But once the capital imbalances that are driving development in the developing world and immiseration of the proletariat in the post-democratic first world subside, stasis will become an increasingly attractive policy to the oligarchs. (When the Great Acceleration stops, my guess is that the oligarchy will ossify into a nobility, and eventually a monarchical-system-in-all-but-name, within a century at most. And there are already worrying signs that this is happening.) Please don't deny that you are a believer in this revolutionary ideology — and it is revolutionary; so much so that Republican Democracy, Fascism, and Communism are just minor doctrinal disputes within it. It's okay to admit it here; I'm a supporter of this ideology, too. None of us are supporters of feudal monarchism; we're all the inheritors of the early Jacobins. Which makes us revolutionaries. But it's important to understand that virtually the entire mainstream of political and social discourse today is radical and revolutionary by historical standards. (Hell, the concept of sociology itself is a construct of the revolutionary philosophers.) This is not an historically normative set of touchstone ideas to run a society on. We're swimming in the tidal wave set running by an underwater earthquake two centuries ago — and like fish that live their entire lives in water, we are unable to see our circumstances as the anomaly that they are, or to know whether it's all for the best. And, as Oliver Cromwell put it, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

March 22, 2013

U.S. soldiers suing over exposure to Fukushima-Daichi radiation

The folks that run the plant have admitted they lied about the initial radiation exposure because they didn't want to panic people. This is the consequence. US soldiers sue over Fukushima radiation exposure - health - 22 March 2013 - New Scientist
Fukushima's financial fallout is far from over. US military personnel and their families are seeking $2 billion in damages for illnesses they believe were caused by the nuclear plant's meltdown. They allege that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant's operator, misrepresented the amount of radiation present when it accepted US military assistance to deal with the crisis. Soldiers aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, which rerouted from Korea to assist after reactors at Fukushima went into meltdown in 2011, have filed a lawsuit against TEPCO in the District Court for the Southern District of California. So far, 24 people are claiming damages, but Paul Garner, a lawyer based in San Diego, California, who is representing the plaintiffs, says that the 70,000 US military personnel and families stationed in or near Japan at the time could be party to the suit if they wish. The plaintiffs claim that the Fukushima radiation leak caused leukaemias, testicular cancer, vision problems and gynaecological bleeding, among other illnesses. "It seems like a pattern, a lot of cancers," says Garner. TEPCO has not responded to New Scientist's request for comment.